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Tag: therapy

A truly person-centred, and highly effective approach to #PTSD #Stress and #anxiety #87RT

There are many therapists and counsellors that claim to be ‘person-centred’ in their approach, but how do people in distress even begin to understand what that actually means?

To many, the all-comsuming anguish they are enduring is paramount, and all they want is recovery. Recovery at all costs. Recovery from nightmares, recovery from flashbacks, and an end to panic attacks and the debilitating nausea and fear.

To whom do they turn when they cannot endure it any longer? Why, the experts – of course!

At this point, does the individual really have any interest in what is person-centred and what is not? I think it’s debatable at the point of crisis, but it is clear that it is at this very point that many ‘therapeutic’ relationships are damaged to the point where recovery cannot then even be a subsequence.

I cannot help but think that being ‘person-centred’ is merely the latest in a line of buzz words for many within the mental health sector, with little in the way of actual substance beneath the veneer. For in order to be truly person-centred, then we must eradicate judgement and interpretation – skills which are important within the clinical domain, through which most mental health ‘treatments’ are pipelined. I’ve seen being person-centred described as being ‘responsive to the wishes of the client’ – when all the clients wish for is to get better, then a natural void is formed into which steps the expert, and their opinion(s).

When dealing with someone in crisis, we have to be mindful that our conduct, attitude, and systematic approach are the most important factors in order for the individual to achieve recovery. This may sound self-evident as you read, but it is something that has been lacking within the clinical approach to mental health for years.

Many of our clients have already been through a normative therapy and counselling route, prior to their engagement with Social Support Systems. They’re often in crisis by that time, and we regularly hear stories of how they’ve felt failed, and worse, judged, by their previous counsellors, therapists, and the mental health system in general.

I remember one client telling me (during her initial consultation) that if I tilted my head to one side and appeared to feel sorry for her at any point, she would get up and walk out – she was so sick of being made to feel an object of pity, that her trust in mental health service providers was now somewhat nil.

What is often described as the ‘therapeutic relationship’ can clearly then have an affect upon the outcome of any recovery pathway, though that does not rest solely upon the professional standards, competence and the experience of the ‘expert’.

Crucially, the event of two individuals sitting together, is an act of communion. It is an act of communication.

When one of the individuals present is an ‘expert’, or perhaps (more importantly) considers themselves so, then naturally and consequently that communal relationship is not balanced. This is the very first challenge of the person-centred approach – the client is the underdog. They are needy due to crisis, and they are unknowing due to their lack of qualification. They are not the equal of the ‘expert’ sat before them.

Social Support Systems  facilitators do not consider themselves to be the expert of anyone’s experiences. We know that the expert of experience, is s/he that had the experience.

After all, to claim some form of expertise by applying interpretation can serve only to augment the initial imbalance within the communion. Indeed, our facilitator’s first task is to restore equality to the relationship, and this is achieved by strictly adhering to our rules of facilitation.

In this manner, we achieve a thoroughly non-judgemental and safe environment in which people can consider themselves important within the process, and able to talk about their concerns free from the fear of interpretation and it’s consequences.

In such an environment, it then becomes not only possible but much easier for the client to talk about the unspeakable. A far more trusting relationship is developed, and It is in this fashion that we can, and do, enable an individual to reach into their darkest depths, and reveal the thing that they’ve dreaded for so long…

This is the true nature of being ‘person-centred’, and i’m convinced there is no better way of helping people in crisis through poor mental health.

To find out more about our person-centred work, or how we can help you or your organisation please contact us using the form below.


Sean McCallum

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We are different, here’s why… #trauma #depression #anxiety #stress

Social Support Systems provides help for people across a broad range of psychological difficulties including depression, anxiety, stress, and trauma (PTSD).

We are proud to have effectively supported people from many different walks of life, and at the heart of our service are a number of core values which guide our work and enable our clients to receive the best care possible, regardless of their characteristics, background or social status.

For many, normative counselling, therapy or psychiatry doesn’t work.

Crucially, lots of our clients have already been through the NHS pathways , and have engaged in programmes of therapy only to find themselves still in crisis.

We believe that our clients are all unique, as are their experiences.

We also know that you are the expert in your own experience, not us. Therefore, we work to help you explore your mental environment and issues yourself, and it is this entirely ‘person-centred’ approach that enables our clients to truly resolve their distress.

Our person-centred commitments to you are:

  • Not to evaluate, judge, criticise, disparage or invalidate you, or your values, feelings, reactions, assumptions, conclusions or thoughts
  • To take responsibility for your recovery without dominating you
  • Not to interpret for you, nor advise you
  • Not to label, nor attempt to diagnose you with any illness or condition
  • To be interested in you and your needs at all times
  • To always try understand you, and always support you
  • To Maintain a firm and primary intention to help you
We can help you embrace life once more

Other reasons why our service is different:

We do not believe in limiting session times, as this can prevent resolution and encourage dependency on regular interventions as a ‘coping’ strategy.

If you book an appointment at our support centre, it will only end when you are in a better place and happy to end the session yourself.

We will not give you ‘homework’ and we especially do not teach coping mechanisms – if you’re issues are resolved, there should be nothing to ‘cope’ with – surely?

Located in Ransom Wood, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, our support centre is a peaceful and discreet option for those who feel that privacy is of importance to them.

Please contact us to arrange a consultation here

Alternatively, please call us on (+44) 01623 700320

Client Feedback from Steve (Police Officer) Nottingham. #PTSD

‘I have attended all manner of incidents, but I recently dealt with an incident that caused me issues.I had constant reminders of it and it started to interfere with my private and work life.I had a vision in my head 24hrs a day that i just couldn’t get rid of. I considered the GP, asking for help, and thought about going off sick. I broke down at work and sought help internally and was directed to Social Support Systems.After a quick online questionnaire i was asked to phone and make an appointment.The day arrived and i didn’t know what to expect, but after three hours with my facilitator I no longer feel or suffer the issues I did, and life is back on track.An unexpectedly simple process provided relief for me – Much quicker than a GP visit and then onward referral. I really can’t praise or thank them enough.’

PB – Nottingham #PTSD

‘It’s very bizarre…Yesterday I thought ‘no way would talking work’, but the difference I feel that sharing what happened with you is unreal.How can one session be so beneficial?.I feel like a pressure has lifted from me – a strange feeling of acceptance of what happened, but to move forward. For the first time ever I can feel a spark of hope!

The electric light did not come from the continuous improvement of candles…

…Is a wonderful quote from the late professor and author Oren Harari.

Considering the endless suicides, harrowing stories of mental anguish, woeful news reports lamenting the über-strained NHS, it’s easy to be pessimistic about the future of those enduring psychological crisis across the UK.

‘We’re spending more!’ – is the endless mantra of successive governments who don’t know what else to do.

‘We need more money to raise awareness!’ – is the mantra of mental health charities who don’t know what else to do.

‘We need to talk more!’ – is the mantra of employers who don’t know what else to do.

‘We need to tackle stigma!’ – is the mantra of psychiatry ‘experts’ who choose to blame stigma for the obvious lack of faith in the ‘therapies’ they provide.

On a deeper level,

and perhaps more insidious, is the prospect that psychiatry is in the habit of victim blaming in order to disguise their own charlatanism.

The more suicides there are, the more ‘awareness’ we are told we need to raise.

How much more ‘aware’ do we need to be before we become aware that despite the range of treatments available on the NHS, people are still killing themselves!

Let’s examine for a moment…

More awareness = more talking? = less stigma? = more accessing services? = improvement in mental health? = less suicides?.

Seems easy enough, but unfortunately, not many decision-makers want to see the elephant in the room – that the vast majority of those who have taken the ultimate path to peace after suffering a PTSD diagnosis, have indeed been in the hands of UK psychiatry, have accessed NHS services, and the ‘therapies’ approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Yet they still kill themselves, or descend into awful comorbidity, such as alcoholism, drug abuse, homelessness, and exploitation.

So why aren’t we questioning more the effectiveness of the ‘therapies’ on offer?

Why are we not questioning the evidence-base, and theoretical underpinnings for such treatment as ‘Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing’ (EMDR) for example, which is widely available across the NHS as a ‘treatment’ for posttraumatic stress?

-If you’re unaware how EMDR was developed, look it up – it was a psychotherapist called Francine Shapiro who, during a walk in a park one day, (apparently) ‘noticed’ that her eye movements reduced the intensity of disturbing thought she was having at the time.

The rest is history, and the training industry around EMDR has reached massive heights.

It is upon this amazing, coincidental and lucky(?) experience of Shapiros’ that the supposed experts who sit on the NICE PTSD committee decided to adopt EMDR, despite its dubious birth, lack of theoretical underpinning, and despite the fact that prior to Shapiros’ lucky thought, there had been no observed evidence that could or would have suggested a connection between the physical movement of an eye, the symptoms of PTSD, and (according to its proponents) the neurological systems of the brain.

A truly ‘Newtonian’ moment if ever there was one!

…except that gravity was observable, and the falling apple showed it – nor was Newtons’ the first apple that anyone had seen fall from a tree. Oh, and Newton didn’t sell the apple afterwards…

The same experts that languish in the corridors of NICE , and decide upon which ‘treatment’ the plebs get for PTSD, are (apparently) the leading scientists in the field – shame then, that they seem so busy in those corridors – it prevents them from carrying out any meaningful research into the issue that they label as PTSD.

Indeed, the leading lights of NICE psychiatry don’t seem to have either the will nor energy to carry out research that might actually prove helpful to mankind, and It’s often the case that the only ‘research’ they like put their names to are designed only to support their own trauma-based risk management systems that they peddle to unknowing but well-meaning employers.

And so, in closing, and returning to Hararis’ quote – how do we expect the effectiveness of trauma interventions to develop, when our foremost ‘experts’ are continually allowed to improve only their own candles?

It’s time for a new paradigm.

It’s time for science to robustly investigate trauma theory, and it’s time for a credible and ethical approach to decision-making within the committee that decides upon what ‘treatment’ they allow, and poignantly, how they justify withholding treatments that have a far greater evidence-base than those they currently endorse.